University Teaching

University Teaching

Lauren often teaches Creative Writing (CENG505) at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her course encourages students to find and use their unique voices, develop a range of writing skills, and read and edit like writers. Week by week, we’ll break the writing process down into manageable parts to help you discover how to write bold and compelling fiction. You’ll complete the course a stronger writer and reader, with a tried and tested writing practice of your own.

The course is interactive at every step of the way,  and includes discussions, mini workshops, and in-class writing, all which contribute towards the goal of creating two finished, edited works – a vignette of 600 words and a short story of 1500 words.

To stretch our imaginations and develop our skills towards this goal, we’ll cover theories of fiction writing (what authors have said about their process and motivation); explore the fundamentals of process (free writing and more); study and apply techniques of the fiction writing craft (including characterization, scene, dialogue); and learn how to polish work through three stages of editing.

We’ll also learn how to read as writers. Through close readings and discussions, we’ll dissect stories and pay careful attention to how they are constructed, considering issues like plot, themes, language, narrative mode, and much, much more.

Finally, throughout the course we’ll read fiction from a range of authors including Lucia Berlin, Raymond Carver, Amy Hempel, Maya Angelou, James Joyce, Anton Chekhov, and Grace Paley. We’ll also read poetry and selections from graphic novels.

Want to see a syllabus? Two are available as downloads to your left. For information on registering, visit the Ryerson University Chang School. To find out what sections Lauren is teaching, contact her here.

  • Lauren is one of the most involved professors I have had at Ryerson. She cares about the learning her students gain, understanding the different needs of all students, and commits the time and resources to ensuring the success of all her students. She knows the topics she covers so well, and covers them with passion.

  • One of the best professors I’ve ever had…she gives great feedback on assignments which helps students improve their work. Lauren is just an all-around kind, approachable and knowledgeable professor.

  • The best professor I’ve had at Ryerson. Incredible teacher.

  • I have not taken many courses that I could in good conscience say I both learned from and enjoyed, but this was one of them.

  • One of the greatest professors I can ask for. At first I was scared of creative writing but Lauren has been able to make it fun.

  • Enthusiastic, encouraging and engaging, it has been a delight to go down to Ryerson on Wednesday nights to participate in her class.

Community Arts Education

Community Arts Education

Hailed by The Toronto Star as a groundbreaking program, Sister Writes is now in its seventh year.

Since 2004, Lauren has designed and facilitated over 300 creative writing and publishing workshops for diverse communities in collaboration with organizations including Harbourfront Centre, Luminato Festival of Arts + Creativity, and The Toronto Public Library. Her inclusive workshops involve writers from age 8 to 93 in schools, hospitals, libraries, long-term care homes, women’s shelters, and in a first nations community. She is especially interested in facilitating collaborative, experiential writing experiences and breaking down barriers to participation in the arts.

Lauren’s programs are especially focused on using innovative storytelling techniques to engage diverse members of the community. Her co-creative writing and publishing program, Generations of Writers, was an intergenerational digital oral history project that put seniors and teens into collaboration. Teens learned how to collect oral histories and gained an appreciation for the stories that shaped the history of their community, while seniors transmitted vital knowledge and wisdom. Her Young Authors Project, a creative writing and publishing program for youth, was a finalist for Ontario Government Minister’s Award for Innovation in Arts.

Hailed by The Toronto Star as a groundbreaking program, Sister Writes is now in its seventh year.

Her programs have won the support of The Toronto Arts Council, The Ontario Council, The Ontario Trillium Foundation, and The Canada Council for the Arts.

In 2010, Lauren founded Sister Writes, Toronto’s first creative writing program for marginalized women taught by professional women writers. Hailed by The Toronto Star as a groundbreaking arts program, Sister Writes offers workshops, public arts events, exhibitions, and literary magazines devoted to empowering women, providing mentorship, and inspiring the community with vital stories about women’s lives.

Lauren has also served as Canada Council Writer in Residence, where she ran workshops and mentored writers in a 1906 Carnegie Library in Southwestern Ontario. She’s also mentored up-and-coming writers through the Disaspora Dialogues Emerging Voices Program.

Sister Writes on the Road, her newest program, is a province-wide creative writing and oral history initiative partnered with organizations serving diverse women across Ontario including Street Haven, St. Joe’s House, Interval House, Jessie’s, and many more. Designed to honour the wisdom, knowledge and experiences of women, Sister Writes on the Road will provide artistic mentorship, writing and publishing workshops, and a platform for women to become empowered through telling important stories of their lives. The program will culminate in an interactive digital exhibition, a literary magazine, and a public oral history archive.